It’s 5.07am and through the darkness, the boy announces that he is awake and eager to begin his day.
I force myself into an upright position, offer Jen money to get up instead of me, lollop into his bedroom and discover, to my absolute horror that he is sitting upright, both hands on the railing of his cot with one foot poised and ready to launch him over the top of it. An intravenous drip full of triple-caffeinated freshly ground Javanese coffee couldn’t have woken me up better than this terrifying moment when I discovered my son is developing faster than I imagined possible. It struck us that the baby we have loved since the second he was a clear blue confirmation is as far removed from being a baby as it’s possible to be. It feels as though he’s decided that there’s no need to learn how to crawl as he’d much rather run. Our home , of which we were once so proud, now resembles a testing centre for toy and food manufacturers because our son wants to interact and chew on everything in sight .
Tom’s outlook on life reminds me a lot of Neil Armstrong’s famous words as he climbed out of Apollo 11. One small step for Tom is a giant life-changing leap for his entire family who are so proud of his progress that we no longer interact with each other if the boy is with us.
The number of unfinished conversations I’ve had since Tom arrived has now become impossible to calculate. Even if it was something important, the moment would pass like this “Ben, there’s an extremely urgent message for you from . . . did you just see what Tom just did?” And suddenly any message becomes the exact opposite of urgent. There are books and leaflets and millions of suggestions by a million different people about how to raise a child but what I am beginning to understand is that I am no longer the teacher, I am the student and my son is in charge of each new situation. I’m not complaining though because the view I get of the world around me thanks to Tom is even better than Neil Armstrong’s.